3801 Kootenai St
Boise, Idaho 83705
The Bench Neighborhood
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The McNeil-Davis House, located on the corner of Kootenai and Latah Streets, is one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood. The two-story gable front and wing house originally stood on a ten-acre farm site, planted with fruit trees and irrigated by the New York Canal. The property was purchased in 1909 by William J. and Mary C. McNeil. Canadian-born McNeil arrived in the United States in the 1890s. He settled in the Boise Basin, where he successfully worked mining claims. In 1902 William married Mary Cooper at Centerville. The young couple homesteaded in Valley County before they bought the Bench property from George W. Clark. The 1910 census lists William?s occupation as farmer, but he had also started to work as an engineer/contractor. By 1912 the couple and their children lived in a house on N. 13th Street. A 1914 agreement indicates that they leased the farm, which tax records show had increased in value from $950 to $5,000. The higher valuation indicates the improvements the couple had made, including the construction of the house. In 1919, perhaps due to the success of William?s business, they were ready to sell the farm on the Bench. When they put it up for sale, the Newhouse Investment Company placed an ad in the Idaho Statesman which described the farm as ?10 acres, near Whitney School, orchard, garden, pasture, etc.; 7-room house, and a good one, nice yard, shade, shrubs, etc.; small barn, chicken house, and other outbuildings; $5,250 for quick sale.? In late August of that year, the farm was purchased by Alonzo and Zella Davis. Alonzo J. and Zella Davis and their five children moved to Star from Geneva, Nebraska in 1913. After a brief time in Star, the family moved to a farm south of Perkins, a community along the Interurban railway that was located near the present-day intersection of Franklin and Cole roads. They remained there until purchasing the McNeil farm in the fall of 1919. Alonzo worked as a farmer for the next twenty years, but in 1940 the couple decided to subdivide the land, and created the Davis Addition, which today encompasses five homes on Kootenai Street between Latah and Cleveland. This home was featured on the 13th Annual Heritage Homes Tour in 2015 thanks to the generosity of the current homeowners Ron and Dena Petersen.
Building submitted by Preservation Idaho